Industrial design is as diverse as the medical field, with multiple specializations, says Angela Yeh, founder and owner of design recruitment firm Yeh IDeology. Her team finds the quintessential fit, matching the top five percent of design professionals to like-minded companies around the world, from Whirlpool to Microsoft. Beyond products and packaging, Yeh tells Profile how today’s designers inform everything from organizational structure to strategy.
I learned how to surf later in my life, just six years ago. It’s something I never thought I could do and now I am obsessed with it. I love how it exhilarates, consumes, and transports me. Surfing here on the East Coast is so unpredictable and uncertain. You have to be dedicated to the craft, letting go to enjoying the fruits of your labor.
Like the future, surfing has taught me that you can never know for certain what to expect. What you can do is keep an eye out for the best situation, prepare as much as possible for any condition, and learn to master your responses to any potential outcome. It is so gratifying when you do catch a wave standing on your board. Even wiping out is fun when you know how to do it right. Failing is learning, right? And the more you fail mindfully, the more you learn the right way to approach and manage future situations. In between “catching rides on waves,” you can sit on your board surrounded by nature, look to the horizon, and study the waves. These are moments when you have full awareness of your passion, your courage, and the work and skill it took to bring you to this point in time. Surfing has definitely taught me to be vigilant and excited about the future. At Yeh IDeology, we’re excited to help others visualize and realize their future as well.
I have always had the ability to perceive potential in people and situations. Even all through school—completing an undergrad degree in psychology, with a minor in sculpture, and later pursuing graduate work at the Pratt Institute of Industrial Design—I had an affinity for group dynamics and character studies. When working with people in group settings, I would help them interact more effectively by promoting team building and mutual respect. I knew how to inspire people toward a common goal.
Bringing the right group of people together can make all the difference in what they can accomplish. Over time, this became a passion—how to bring synergistic design leadership and business culture together to create a holistic solution? And Yeh IDeology became the vehicle for integrating brilliant ideas, smart strategies, and creative people to drive business success in the marketplace. In the marriage of talent and culture, we have learned the importance of working with creatives and getting to know them multidimensionally in order to guide their exploration of career opportunities. We simultaneously help our clients understand how to identify the best matching talent and understand how to build into their organization growth potential for candidates. This
ensures long-term success.
Yeh IDeology has been called the eHarmony of recruiting by our clients. We incorporate human-resource retention methods into our methodology and take the time to build solid creative families. A key validation of our success is seeing teams we built years ago continue to thrive.
We had a client come to us a while back who is a world-class manufacturer in household industries. They were looking for a manager who understood the China market and could provide “hands-on” management of the design team. In our research, we discovered that the company brand had not been developed fully in China, or in Asia as a whole. We identified needs beyond our client’s immediate awareness and helped find a strategic design leader who would relaunch and reposition their brand in China. This candidate is such a winning fit, he is now in charge of rebranding the company throughout Asia—and he is not Asian by heritage, which the client initially thought was a critical component to success.
Every person has something different to contribute, which affects how they “solution” the challenges set before them. It’s a term our firm has coined to describe one’s work style. “Solutioning,” as we see it, is different from simply solving; it encompasses the tangible innovations, the larger understanding, and ultimately the mentality and attitude that a designer brings to the table. A team’s performance doesn’t just depend on individual talent; it relies on an overall rhythm. Have you ever listened to a band or orchestra with one musician out of sync with the others?